Monday, 15 July 2013

V/H/S

"V/H/S" (2012, Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, Radio Silence, Bloody Disgusting, The Collective, Magnet Releasing) is a horror anthology done in the found footage style.

I was excited for this film after reading the blurb:

A group of violent hoodlums and criminals are offered the chance to make some extra cash if they can find a specific video tape containing a rare piece of found footage from an abandoned house. However, they get there to find that a corpse is sitting in the house in front of several old TV sets and there are hundreds of VHS tapes. We join them as they go through each tape, finding stranger and stranger footage as they go.

I'm a huge fan of horror anthologies and I thought that this enveloping plot sounded really creative. And it is. However my main criticism is that because the enveloping story is also done in found footage style, the whole film feels very jumpy and can be quite taxing to watch and follow.

There are five shorts in the film, not including the narrative tale about the video tape.

Amateur Night (directed by David Bruckner)
This short is about a group of guys out on a night out who have fitted a pair of thick rimmed spectacles with a camera and plan to take home some drunken females in order to film the resulting shenanigans. Unfortunately for them, they weren't too picky about which drunken females they have selected.

A very rapey tale that's premise is terrifying in a very real way. The short is well put together, is easy to follow as we see what our glasses toting would-be 'lover' sees, and the acting is good, especially that of Hannah Fierman (who plays Lily) and it's nicely gory.

My main issue with the story is that it just wasn't scary! It was obvious where the plot was heading, and if I'm honest, I was glad to see all those gits get ripped apart.


Second Honeymoon (directed by Ti West)
A married couple on their 'second honeymoon' receive a strange prediction from a theme park fortune telling attraction (similar to the movie 'Big') and who then are stalked in their motel room.

Slow burning and quite tense, the gore is kept at a minimum. There is also a twist, which I admittedly was not expecting, but I wasn't really scared.

Tuesday the 17th (directed by Glenn McQuaid)
A group of kids go for a camping trip at the lake (see what they did with the title, yet?). But, as they are settling down for a fun drunken night, it becomes apparent that their friend Wendy (Norma C. Quinones) has an ulterior motive for inviting everyone up there, and it might all be a trap!

Just a bit of fun with some dodgy camera effects and a well-trodden, recognisable setting.

The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger (Directed by Joe Swanberg)
This one seems like a haunted house short of the same ilk as "Paranormal Activity", but it has a twist.

This one was the only short in this colletion that was actually verging on scary. I love a good ghosty jump scare, but I found the twist took away from what was a nice, traditional spooky short. Although, I did enjoy the extra twist which gave a new sick dimension to the James character.

10/31/98 (Directed by Radio Silence) 
A group of young people in fancy dress are heading to a Halloween party at a friend's house. They take a wrong turn without knowing it, and wind up in the wrong house only to find out that this house is haunted and, once inside, the spirits might not want them to leave.

Not the best haunted house short out there, the script seemed confused as to whether it was an all-out haunting or Poltergeist activity... But the bit with the car was pretty good!

...

For me, I was a bit disappointed after all of the hype! I would say that "V/H/S" was a 'hit and miss', but it was more like a 'hit and some misses'. I really should learn to avoid the hype and go in open minded...

A difficult one to fully judge as each horror segment has its own strengths and weaknesses, but on the whole I wasn't so enthralled with the full product.

[Image: Magnet Releasing]
 
Hani